Beginners Guide to Catfish Fishing

Catfish are plentiful and taste great and they are actually fun to fish for. They are willing biters and can be caught from the bank or a boat just use a simple bait rig. Here's a short guide to catch catfish.

Where and When to Catch Catfish

Catfish thrive in many water systems including shallow warm ponds or fast rivers. They like varying habitats and there are some general areas that tend to hold catfish.

During the day you can look for catfish in a muddy water area such as a tributary. These are deep structures such as riverbeds and base drop-offs with deep holes and homes. They like to hover around the standing timber and deep weed edges.

Night brings excellent fishing. Catfish use their smell and taste along with their whiskers to locate food in the dark. So look for them on flats, bars, points and shorelines.

Essential Catfish Gear

You will need a small basic kit to catch an average sized fish.

A 6 to 7 foot, medium heavy spinning rod and a real spool with 14 pound or stronger and abrasion resistant monofilament.

Your terminal tackle should include 1/0 to 3/0 circle or bait hooks. #2 to #6 treble hooks, 0.5 - 2 oz egg sinkers, split shots,#7 to #10 swivels, bobbers, beads and jig heads.

Live worms or minnows, cut-bait, smelly artificial bait like fish chunks or dough

Boat or shore style rod holder

Net or lip-grip for landing fish

A pair of long nose pliers for removing hooks

How to Catch Catfish

A slip-sinker rig is a popular set up since catfish are often located near the bottom. You can make one by threading a sinker on the mainline, then a bead. Next the mainline is tied to the end of a swivel. At the other end of the swivel is a 1 to 2 foot monofilament leader, followed by the hook. The rig can be left on the bottom or hovered over the floor if it is drifting.

A float rig is another option. You simply add a float above the weight on a slip-sinker rig. You use this rig to drift bait slowly through where the fish would be hanging out without catching it in the weeds are snagging it on the bottom. A drift float helps cover water from the bank.

A jig head is tipped with bait and will also catch catfish. Lift and drop the jig along the bottom.

Sometimes catfish bite hard and quick. Other times they play with the bait. When in doubt, set the hook. A common rig fishing strategy is feeding line to a nibbling catfish so it doesn't feel resistance. When it does take the line, hook and set.

Give catfish a try as pound for pound they make for fun days fishing on the water.